GENESEO, N.Y., Nov. 16, 2023 – The Livingston County Suicide Prevention Taskforce is engaging in a creative approach to helping parents and guardians stay involved in the lives of their loved ones by promoting the importance of “car convos” to build rapport and encourage dialogue.
The campaign, which began on November 6th and is scheduled to run through December 31, 2023, will be displayed on five billboards throughout the County and is intended to spark conversation related to mental health and suicide prevention.
“With the constant hustle and bustle of life today, sometimes the few minutes we get in the car can make a significant difference in the well-being of our children,” said Lynne Mignemi, who chairs the Livingston County Suicide Prevention Taskforce. “Having regular discussions, including those focused around mental health and suicide, can play a significant role in reducing feelings of isolation, stigma and hopelessness.”
Recent polls have shown that nearly 84 percent of parents and guardians believe that mental health challenges in children have increased in recent years and close to 90 percent of those surveyed believe that their children’s mental health is more important than academic achievements.
While many caregivers struggle to find creative approaches to beginning conversations related to mental health, experts say the key is to not place any pressure on children to participate. Encourage participation by setting the stage, asking open-ended questions and finding the right time for difficult conversations. Furthermore, there are many topics that can kickstart a conversation including the role of social media, bullying, self-criticism and mental health concerns including depression and anxiety.
“By establishing trust and understanding with children, they feel supported and engaged,” continued Mignemi. “Our hope is that these billboards will serve as a reminder that these conversations are critical in building confidence within our children and a safe outlet to communicate their feelings, fears, successes and more.”
If you, or someone you love, is having thoughts of suicide or struggling with a mental health challenge or crisis, call or text the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 988 for a confidential, supportive conversation. Additionally, resources and information on how to start a conversation about mental health and suicide are available by emailing the Genesee Valley Health Partnership.
Learn more about the promotions and initiatives being implemented to help curtail suicide in Livingston County by visiting the Livingston County Suicide Prevention Taskforce’s Facebook page.
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About Livingston County:
Founded in 1821, Livingston County, N.Y., is home to more than 61,000 residents in 17 towns located across 631 square miles of the Finger Lakes region.